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It was my last time fishing with...

Scott M

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...my grandpa. I was 11 years old and it was July of 1994. I didn't know it but it would be my last time fishing with my grandfather on the lake 1/4 mile from where he was born. He hadn't really fished much in the last two years with his diabetes and dealing with chemotherapy. He really wanted to take his grandson out so he dealt with the difficult walk down the hill, the old silver Alumacraft 14 footer with the rigid bench seats, and the grumpy old Johnson 6 horse motor. I had to do the heavy lifting and get everything set up but I did just as he asked. We spent that late afternoon and evening trolling and casting for pike. We did really well, catching lots of fish. I don't really remember what we talked about but I won't ever forget how the day ended. There was a shoreline with a steep break and on the shallow side of the break were the tallest plots of cabbage on the lake. We had the most action trolling this stretch. We shut the motor off at this spot with the sun descending on the tops of the surrounding pines and birches. The water was smooth as glass, the mosquitoes weren't out yet, and we shared the lake only with a family of loons that were playing in the middle of the lake and a bald eagle with clutch towering above us on that same shoreline, their nest in the lake's tallest white pine tree.

We sat in silence as I recall, not saying anything to one another. But we were surrounded by a richness of sounds. Frogs croaking, loons calling, and the sounds of long casts being made into the shore: line zipping off reels and lures softly splashing into the water. Occasionally we'd reel in another pike. It was the time of day that minnows need a curfew because if you were under six inches long and silvery you wouldn't want to be caught swimming in that stretch of shoreline at that time of day with so many pike roaming around. We caught pike like it was going out of style. When the sun had finally set behind the treeline and daylight slowly slunk away, we loaded everything up and headed back to shore, to return to the cabin and the rest of the family that we had taken a break from. I don't think we had to say a word in the last hour of fishing, but what we had experienced could fill your soul with volumes of words.

There was always pure joy and wonder in both our faces when we wet a line. Like most grandparents he spoiled his grandchildren. I can remember trips to Mills Fleet Farm and Joe's Sporting Goods where I could fill a bag with whatever I wanted for my tackle box and he would buy it. I remember trips to Trout Air in Forest Lake to try and catch supper. I would hook a fish and rather than reel it in I would turn and run away from shore. He would just laugh. His patience is something I hope was passed down genetically. Some days we would just sit by the lake on a park bench, rods in hand, watching the bobbers dance on the incoming waves. My grandfather was a very special person to many people; an officer of the United States Marine Corps, a two time purple heart winner, a PhD recipient in vocational education, an instructor at Cal Berkley and the University of Minnesota, a United Nations representative that traveled and helped many around the world, a pillar in his church, and a father and grandfather to a large and loving family. But I will always know him as my grandfather the fisherman.

Four months after our tranquil evening casting for pike I would be at a friend's house for a sleepover and return home to find my grandfather had passed away, his long battle with cancer ended.

Does anyone else remember their last time fishing with someone special?

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neat story. mine was with my dad. we went to his cabin for the last weekend of spearing. ice was thick, he had a really tuogh time helping, little did i know what was to happen later. he died 6 months later of that railroad asbestos cancer. sure miss them trips with him.

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Almost.. I was supposed to go with my father-in-law on Millacs. He stopped by my house on the way up there. He said I should try to make it up there. He has pictures of stringers full of walleyes at the cabin. That weekend I got the worst call of my life. He had been run over by another boat and died shortly there after. I never did get to go with him.. Makes you remember how short life can be. A year and a half before that he had saved my life. I was in a head on collision comming home from the cabin. He was the first on scene. I miss him so much..

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da chise, my story is very similar.

When I was just a baby my parents were living with my grandfather and he was a farmer and a fisherman. We were living down in Arkansas out in the sticks on an old dirt road right down by the bayou. My grandpa ran trot-lines and yo-yos on the bayou and would strap my carseat in his boat and take me out fishing with him when I was just a couple months old. He took me out everyday, bought me my first cane pole, helped me catch my first crappie, the hole bit. When we would bring catfish home from teh bayou, he would set me down in the yard and put the catfish down around me and let me pet and play with them before we cleaned them up. I loved fishing with him so much and did so with every opportunity I could. My family moved up to Minnesota when I was three years old, and the only time I could fish with grandpa is when we went back home for vacation.

The years went by and my grandpa's health started to fade so he moved up to my uncle's place just outside Stuttgart, Arkansas. My uncle has a 680 acre farm with fish ponds and duck swamp, and a bayou running through the property so my grandpa was already in heaven just moving there. My uncle had an old fish cleaning shack that he converted into a house for my grandpa that was surrounded by his variety pond. My grandpa loved all kinds of fish, from panfish, to catfish, buffalo, and bass, and his favorite meal was fried fish. He would have ate it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday of his life if my uncle would let him.

A few years back, I went down there with my brother and I was catching tons of bass and a few bluegills and crappies. I went in to talk fishing with grandpa, and he told me how much he would love to have one last chance to catch some fish. Right then and there, I asked him where his shoes were. He wanted to know why I wanted his shoes. I told him I would put his shoes on him and that he was gonna go fishin with me. The rickety old jon boat was a leaker and my grandpa was a pretty big man, so I knew we wouldn't be able to stay out too long, but I knew he would have the time of his life. I helped him into the boat, and while he was waiting, I went and grabbed his old cane pole. I grabbed all the crickets I could find as that was his favortie bait. We went out on the pond and I positioned us on the corner of the pond with a couple big trees laying down in the water. Within seconds of dropping his line in the water he was catching gills. That man could flat out fish, he schooled me bad. He must have caught 10-15 fish for every one that I got, and I was loving it. He kept every fish he caught, because he wanted to have the whole family down for a fish fry that night. I saw nothing wrong with that. The boat was leaking pretty bad that day and after about an hour, we had enough water in the bottom of the boat that his feet were wet and we would have been sinking soon if we didn't head back. He was quite reluctant to head in, knowing it would be the last time he would ever get to fish in the boat again, and he cried when he told me that he waited all his life for me to take him out fishing like he used to do for me. I will never forget that day of fishing so long as I shall live. We got back to the shoreline and I helped him out of the boat, and brought him into the house so he could rest and told him I would clean all the fish for us. About half way through cleaning them, he comes walkin out with a big glass bowl filled with ice water and asked me what I was doing to the fish. He had never filleted a fish, panfish were always scaled and gutted in his way of cleaning fish. I told him that the way I was doing it would leave it with no bones and make it easier to eat. He was worried that we would lose meat, and I showed him that all we were losing was the stuff between the ribs. He told me that I better get a spoon and start scaling them and gutting them cause he wanted every last morsel of meat off the fish. I finished them off that way, and later on when we did the fish fry, I gave him a few that I filleted, and he then insisted that I teach my cousin and uncle how to fillet the fish without the bones cause that was how he wanted to eat his fish the rest of his life. I didn't have a problem with that either.

I think about my grandpa every single time I hit the water, and owe my love for the outdoors to him. He was the most influential person in my life and not a day goes by that I don't miss him dearly. He passed away three days after my son was born, with a photo of my son in his hands as he took his last breath of life. He made a promise to me that he would wait until he got to see Hunter before he passed away. We had a fish fry in his honor a couple days after he passed and I just could not hold back the emotions.

Here is a photo of him doing what he loved. Eating some fish.


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Awesome stories guys. Those are the moments everyone lives for. Remember to always take your family with you. Even if you don't get to fish as much, it's worth it to see them having fun and the memories you build are worth more than 10 limits of fish.

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 Originally Posted By: da_chise31

Does anyone else remember their last time fishing with someone special?

Ya it still chokes me up to look back. Ol Doc was the one that taught me just about everything I needed to know about musky fishing. He was truly one of the greats, an oldtimer that had a lifetime of knowledge that he never boasted about.

When I first started fishing musky I was fumbling along often making ten mistakes to every one good thing I did and Doc took notice of this sad little man trying to catch a musky. I was just old enough to buy beer so we worked out a deal. I would bring him some beer and cigars, sneak them past his wife and onto the water we would go. Doc would fire up that tired Johnson motor and dial in the old flasher as we ripped across the lake at 15 mph.

Doc spent just about every weekend showing me how to fix those “junk plastic lures”, improve those “shiny reels” and why the rods I was using are just overpriced cane poles. He would puff away on that cigar with the hand steer trolling motor between his knees as he put all of his last bits of energy into each cast. We fished through rain storms, gails, snow and even some weather we couldn’t explain but his cigar always stayed lit and he never gave up on the fish or his young fishing partner.

I remember once he asked me to dial his house from my “fancy pocket phone” because he wanted to tell his wife not to make dinner for him. I will never forget the day or words he spoke “ Ma, skip dinner, me and the kid are going keep going the fish aren’t snapping but I think they will soon and there is no other place I want to be right now. I think this is going to be one of those good nights”

Me and Doc fished into the night boating some beautiful fish and having the time of our lives. As the night grew late we proceeded to pack up the boat and begin the methodic starting of the old Johnson. Doc sat back in the chair and handed me two cigars and proceeded with “Kid if you are ever going to become decent fishermen ya gotta start smoking cigars.” He smiled and told me “You finally figured these things out, I had to fish you for fourteen hours to get you tired enough to stop over thinking it and just fish. Now if you can just remember you are out here for you not them I think you are going to do ok, now lets see if this old Johnson will take us home one more time.”

I still have one of the cigars, it sits along side of Docs tarnished “Toronto Spoon”.

Doc spent his last summer teaching me the skills that would not only make me a guide and tournament angler but many things that play into everyday life. Doc truly taught me what it was all about.

Over that next winter cancer slowly took the fire out Doc as he refused treatment. He knew about the cancer for over a year but never told any of us until he was very sick as he said "It would have just been something to worry about you can’t do nuthin’ about."

Old Doc passed the following summer sitting in his wicker chair on his deck looking over the lake. His wife said he got up and struggled to the chair with his binoculars against her advice. He snapped at her saying he just wanted to see where the kid is fishing. He looked around and then fell asleep in that old chair as he did so many times.

When Beth told me Doc had passed and how he went to his chair to look for me on the water I never hurt so bad in my life and how I wished that old Johnson would make “just one more trip”.

We spread Docs ashes across the lake as he wished and not a day on the water goes by I don’t ask myself “What would Doc do?”

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Fantastic stories guys. Thanks for sharing them. I sure miss fishing with my dad. I treasure every moment I get to fish with my boys and I hope to have grandkids to fish with someday too.

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I remeber when I was six years old the sun wasnt even up yet as my mom, dad and I sat in the kitchen eating breakfast. Mom was up as usual and dad was off to work as usual but it was summer and I was up to go fishing. I hit the lake for bass early throwing bass rats at the lily pads on a glass calm orange morning. it was a beautiful june morning just perfect! Before I left dad said it should be a good morning cuz there was a front moving in and it would be storming by nightfall. He was right! Mid afternoon I was taking a nap after fishing with plans to go out with dad after work....We fished ealrier in the week without much luck and he said we would really nail them tonight. He had a good sense when it came to when and what days fish would bite...Mom woke me up from my name and gathered us kids around to take us into his work...He wasnt feeling very well and he was really sleepy so he didnt want to drive home....He climbed into the van and thats when the heart attack hit him....He was annouced dead on the way to the hospital....I didnt fish for a few weeks and everytime I did after that tears fell down my cheeks just rembering how dad and I always used to fish the same waters.....not even a few big bass cheered me up for a while....I still miss dad on some days and have since converted to walleyes ever since I bought my first boat but I still shed a tear everytime that first cast lands in the lilypads on the rare morings I decide to chase bass.....

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These are great stories and I think they point out the wisdom of writing them out. I don't know if any of the writers here had put them on paper before but I can assure you that if you do you and your family will enjoy them for years to come. FM is a nice place, but a notebook of these will be looked at forever.

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Everything I know about fishing I can owe to my late brother-in-law, Ron Hall, who was married to my second-oldest sister. My father had died before I hit first grade and it was only a few years later that my sister married and left home.

Before I had my own rig and they had kids old enough to take a spot, we'd fish up and down the Rainy River, drag a canoe into the upper Canadian reaches of Rainy Lake, make overnight trips on the ice to Lake of the Woods when the embargo closed gas stations on Sunday and as far as the then-wilderness that was Thompson, Manitoba.

We'd tent on islands, using rocks for tent stakes. We'd portage through the looncrap and fight the black flies and noseeums. We'd watch the northern lights, stars and space junk. We'd scrub the cooking kit with beach sand and find a berry patch that had probably only previously been visited by a bear or bird. We'd climb a bluff and see the shadows in the lake where there were humps, rock reefs and homes to the biggest and smartest fish. The loons and ducks would sing and the ravens, crows and red-wing blackbirds would tell us to get away.

We seldom packed in much food because Ron always caught fish. We fished with Little Joes, drug purple Lazy Ikes, Prescotts and Rapalas. He taught me to backtroll a Lindy Rig, jig an Ugly Bug and harness a worm. He taught me to work a point and rock pile and hang on the edge of an eddy. He knew where the sturgeon fed and the best time to switch from shiners to chubs to crappie minnows. We'd sein a bucket of minnows at the campsite and make belly meat look like a pork frog. We'd cut a minnow and use the head or tail; we'd cut a worm and catch a fish with every piece and celebrate catching a fish on the same bait time and again. Corn or candy or mayfly were always options. We had the biggest and smallest hooks. We had everything a person needed in a Tuperware container.

We'd pick crawlers from the high school football field and call the Dew Drop Inn in the Fort for minnows, hoping that the local cat wouldn't chew up the hidden bags before we got there at 4 a.m. to avoid the backups at the bridge. We'd shake the sawdust off a minnow and make it a presentable bait.

He taught me how to fillet and skin and make a meal of walleye cheeks. I still have the fillet knife and although the blade has gotten thin, I can slice through skin and scales and be proud that I have done the best possible job of cleaning a fish.

It was a late-summer day and like most afternoons, Ron had been fishing below the dam behind the Falls paper mill. Ron always caught fish. Ron had finished for the day and trailered his boat. He was around back hooking up the tiedown when the cerebral aneurysm burst. He was dead before he hit the ground, partially falling into the river.

The big, brown DNR sign says Ron Hall Memorial Landing.

I've fished with Gary Roach and Randy Amenrud. They could catch fish; that's what they did everyday. I worked with Terry Tuma, the clowns at North American Fisherman and tried to make sense of the columns writen by Bob Jensen; they talked about fishing every day. Ron always caught fish.

Ron bought me my first rifle, a Winchester .30-30. I shot my first deer, then another, then another, and he showed me how to reach into the gut and cut the heart and to keep the back end clean.

We'd sit in the boat, or canoe or treestand and listen. He taught me to hear.

He taught me more things than I can ever give to my own children. They are city kids; the boat is for towing the tubes and camping is an RV adventure.

I don't catch fish like when I was with Ron. I don't try. A day in the boat or at a campground is the time I share with my family.

Some days I can sit in the boat in the driveway and be as close to fishing as I need to be.

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my story is about my grandpa. it was last July. i was in there truck early on my way to pick him up for a fishing trip for crappies and sunnies. i told him the night before i would be there around 7 to pick him up. i walked into the retirement home and to my surprise he remembered and had his pole and tackle box sittin next to the door. we got back to my uncles resort in longville i helped him get in the boat and across the lake we went to our honey hole. i got into the bay and thought i was in the right spot, guess not grandpa told me to was in the wrong spot and said get that motor started and go over there.

So i did and we were gettin ready to fish. i was set up already cause i had fished this spot a couple times that week. and he started tying up him rig. he was havin trouble. i asked him if i could help and he said if i cant tie my own line get me out of this boat. after he got rigged up i asked him where the sweet spot was and he said right next to that lily pad. i was amazed he put that bobber 2 inches away from that pad and 2 seconds later the bobber was gone. we fished there for 5 hours pullin in crappies sunnies rock bass and the biggest bullhead i have ever seen let alone landed. i was about to put it back in the water and he started yellin at me askin what i was doin, bullheads are good keep that pig.

well after we brought him back we cleaned up the fish and had a fish fry and i brought him back. at the time he wasnt in the best health and walkin out of that retirement home i was tearin up cause i knew it would be the last time him and i would share time in the boat. this is the guy who taught me how to catch walleyes up in nester falls when i was 3. well fast forward to feb. 19 2008. had a trip planned to red lake for the slab fest. the doc told the family he had a couple days left. i went to see him and was about to cancel the trip when as i was leavin my uncle and i had a talk. he said ya know what grandpa could die now or in a couple weeks go on your trip. so i loaded up the truck and took off.

got to walker to stop and have breakfast at my aunts coffee shop. walked over to reeds to grab a new paid of gloves and got the call that he passed away that morning on my way home. before i took off i grabbed a carving he made of a crappie to bring for red lake. my aunt told me to finish the trip and to to red and fish with grandpa and come home well have to funeral. so when i got to my shack on red i put the carving next to the hole cracked a bottle of grandpa favorite johnny walker and caught the most walleyes i have in one night. i know i rambled on a bit but thats my last memory of grandpa Bob.


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Guys, this is really a great thread...very cool, and I wish we could see more and more of this kind of thing. When you think about it...so much of what we write and talk about has so little value compared to this; this kind of thing is what really matters.

It was cool to read your stories...only kind of difficult because I can't relate. I can honestly say that there was never a mentor in my life to teach me how to fish, or to spend time in the boat with me. I was pretty much born with an insatiable appetite for fishing, and I learned it by watching fishing shows, by reading, and by trial and error.

It's long been a source of frustration for me that my dad and my grandpa were so different. I can always remember begging them to go fishing with me, and they would always decline. In retrospect I can now see how that shaped me as a boy and young man, because it wasn't just showing their lack of interest in fishing, it was also showing their lack of interest in me. In any event, I would just wind up going alone.

Along the way I developed friends and peers to go fishing with, and many of them remain to this day, and for that I am really grateful. As I get more and more involved in the fishing industry, I'm finding that there's more and more people to go fishing with, and that has been really great. But, I must admit that there's those few special old buds that I look forward most to getting out with. Someday maybe one of them will pass before me, and I will be able to relate better to what you guys are feeling. For the time being though, not looking forward to that at all.

Don't want to put a damper on this thread. My dad is a good man who passed on to me a great work ethic, his faith, and a mans desire to try and do the right thing and live a good life. In that regard, I have much to be thankful for. The hard thing is that we were so different that we were never able to share a common bond in the things that I am most passionate about, that being fishing and hunting. I see fathers and sons sharing their common passion all around me. I miss not being able to experience that, but I admire and enjoy seeing it none the less.

And so all I can say is to you guys who have the memories of those great times with your dads and grandpas, remember them and cherish them (as you are now doing), and do your best to pass it on. For those of you who still have your dads and grandpas or other mentors, enjoy them as much as you can, and make sure they know how much you love and appreciate them.

I've got a soft spot for this topic, because of my experience. I've passed my legacy on to my son. No, he's not got the level of passion that I do, but he does love to hunt and fish, and some of my/our greatest memories are of doing that together.

My heart also breaks for all the boys out there who don't have a dad, grandpa, or masculine influence in their lives, to teach them how to hunt or fish, to encourage them along the way, or to just be there as an example of (hopefully) what it means to be a man. A few close friends and I have "adopted" some boys who don't have dads in our community, and about all we do is go fishing, hunting, camping, and enjoy our common love of the outdoors. I find tremendous satisfaction in this...far more than I could ever achieve by going out and having the greatest day on the water by myself, or with my regular fishing buddies.

Thanks again guys for sharing your stories. Lets hear some more!

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